Beef short ribs have been on my list to try for quite some time, but it wasn’t until this weekend that I finally moved them to the top. I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about their incredible tenderness and taste. But I was nervous about the effort it would take to braise them for so many hours. I know that you all depend on this blog for easy to prepare meals that are both budget and family friendly. I wasn’t sure if braising short ribs on the stove for 4 hours really fit the mission of Our Family Eats. When I’m selecting recipes and dishes to post here I try to keep things as real as possible, so if I don’t have time to do it I figure you don’t either. Then I had a eureka moment. What if I let the crock pot do the work for me? The concept made perfect sense to me, and all of a sudden beef short ribs went from a recipe that was just a bit out of reach into something that fit in just perfectly with everything else.
After switching from an all afternoon braising session into a put it all in a crock pot and walk away recipe things really fell into place. Short ribs are naturally flavorful, mostly because they are such a fatty cut, and also because they have the benefit of cooking along with bones. You will always get more flavor out of anything you cook if you include the bones. The only dilemma I had left to figure out was what to do about all the fat that comes along with cooking short ribs. I decided to spend an extra 20 minutes and roast the ribs at high heat before adding them to the crock pot. That way most of the fat was rendered and left behind in the roasting pan and not in my sauce. In addition to helping with the fat, the oven gave the beef a slight crustiness that was still there somehow after all that time in the slow cooker. I loved that.
I cooked these on the lowest setting for the longest amount of time – 10 hours for my slow cooker – to make sure they stayed tender. The meat literally fell off the bone when I scooped it from the pot. I served these short ribs over mashed potatoes for a satisfyingly hearty meal on a cold night. The beef is richly flavored so the mashed potatoes seemed like the perfect match to me. Pure Man Food, according to John. They would be wonderful served over egg noodles too.
Beef Short Ribs
3 pounds beef short ribs, trimmed of visible fat
salt and pepper
28 ounces diced tomatoes
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place short ribs on a roasting pan and sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 20 minutes. Let cool and trim and additional visible fat from beef using a paring knife. (You can do this part the day before you want to serve these and refrigerate overnight.)
Place short ribs in a crock pot. Add all other ingredients. Stir gently to combine. Cook on low heat for 10 hours (or 8 hours at minimum). Remove bones from pot. Serve beef and sauce over mashed potatoes or egg noodles. Drizzle with additional balsamic vinegar if desired.